ACLU makes Privacy Demands

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Seattle’s Smart Meter Project Lacks Protections for Privacy

ACLU of Washington Press Release May 26,2017

The ACLU of Washington is raising significant concerns about the lack of protections for privacy, as well as lack of transparency, in the implementation of Seattle City Light’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure.  The project involves installation of smart meters which gather data that can reveal intimate details about what is going on inside a person’s home.  Yet there are no clear and explicit checks and balances to restrict the government or third parties from using or selling smart meter data for purposes unrelated to the provision of electricity, and the City’s Privacy Impact Assessment for the project is unclear and inadequate.

“The new smart meters collect much more detailed data and do so more frequently than City Light’s previous electrical meters.  But the project fails to comply with the principles of the Seattle’s Privacy Program, and there is no meaningful opportunity for the individuals to offer informed consent,” said Shankar Narayan, ACLU of Washington Technology and Liberty Director.

In a letter to the Seattle City Council, the ACLU urged the City to adopt clear and binding guidelines around what data smart meters collect, who accesses the data, what the data can and cannot be used for, and what informed consent must be given before the meters are deployed. The ACLU points out that the option to opt-out offered by the City currently is inadequate, meaningless, and expensive. Under the City’s plan, third parties will be accessing this sensitive data, and those third parties should be bound not to sell the data or use it for unrelated purposes.

Opting out will cost an individual $124.43 as a one-time “administrative fee,” plus $15.87 per billing cycle. “Exercising one’s right to opt out shouldn’t mean opting in to excessively costly fees,” said Shankar Narayan.

ACLU-WA website

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Bill Bathgate AMI Meter Analysis

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Bill Bathgate, an Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, has looked at the Landis & Gyr Focus meters that Seattle City Light is rolling out for the AMI deployment.  In this presentation he goes into detail about the accuracy fallacy, privacy and security issues, and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) non-compliance to FCC regulations.

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Meter EMF Clarification Notes

Digital vs. Analog meters

  • Digital meter
    analog meter

    Analog Meter

    • electronic (has a circuit board and an SMPS – Switching Mode Power Supply)
    • sensitive to environmental conditions (temperature, humidity)
    • cause EMI
    • life span – 5 to 15 years (AMI meters have a shorter life span than non-communicating meters)
    • increased fire risk
  • Analog meter
    • electromechanical
    • life span – 40 to 75 years

AMI vs. AMR meters

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (wireless)
    • 2-way communication using microwave band frequencies
    • Electricity usage meters
    • Able to disconnect remotely
    • Gas meters may be able to use network
  • Automated Meter Reading  (can be digital or analog)
    • 1-way communication
    • Requires meter reader to drive by with receiver to capture data
    • Used for gas, water and electricity metering
  • Both meters based on pager technology from the 1980’s

New Standard meter for Seattle City Light

  • Transmitting meter – Landis & Gyr FOCUS RXR-SDFocus RXR
  • Non-transmitting – Landis & Gyr FOCUS AXR

Focus AXR

  • Descriptions of all models:
    • FOCUS AX – A solid state energy and demand meter.
    • FOCUS AXR – The FOCUS AX meter with an internal pulse recorder.
    • FOCUS AX-SD – The FOCUS AX meter with a service disconnect switch.
    • FOCUS AXR-SD – The FOCUS AX meter with an internal pulse recorder and service disconnect.
    • FOCUS RXR – The FOCUS AXR meter programmed with a second energy function (kvarh or kVAh). The meter is only capable of displaying one approved demand function.
    • FOCUS RXR-SD – The FOCUS AXR meter programmed with a second energy function (kvarh or kVAh) and service disconnect. The meter is only capable of displaying one approved demand function.

Electromagnetic Profiles

  • Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) is also called Radio Frequency (RF) or microwave radiation
    • The FOCUS RXR-SD transmits at 900MHz and 2.5GHz (like a wireless modem or router)
    • AMI is a Wi-Fi network (wireless, like an Internet modem) and is similar to cell phone networks.
    • High intensity, pulsed EMR measured at 2000 microWatts per meter squared and higher spikes every few seconds.
    • Studies indicate DNA damage and biological cell interference (as in the link to brain cancer from cell phone use)  see Dr. Martin Pall’s work, or the World Health Organization metadata report BioInitiative Report
  • Magnetic and Electric Fields (EMF)
    • The power panel (fuse box) has high magnetic and electrical fields, but these fields dissipate quickly relative to distance. Other high EMF sources are refrigerators, inductive ovens/stoves, and radiant heaters.
    • Electromagnetic Interference or Radio Frequency Interference (EMI/RFI) are electric fields generated by motors or Switching Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) that are plugged into your home wiring outlet. This EMI (also known as Conductive Emissions or Dirty Electricity) is emitted from the wires throughout your house. The RFI is a little different in that it is added to the wiring from outside EMR sources because the wiring is like an antenna, and this is referred to as inductive.
    • Digital meters use SMPS’s and therefore add EMI to the house wiring at the ingress. (Note: there is one meter, that we’ve heard of, that does not add EMI because it is either properly grounded or filtered.) Other devices in the house can be unplugged or turned off say at night, the digital meter is just on adding EMI 24/7.
      • There is speculation about whether the EMI has a different quality or character from digital meters versus other SMPS devices. At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that adding the digital meter will add any measurable difference to the wiring than all the appliances and electronics already plugged in (i.e. refrigerator, TV, computer, air conditioner, fan, …).
    • Health impacts:
      • Magnetic Fields
      • Electric Fields such as EMI/RFI
        • Interference with medical devices (pacemakers, hearing aids, …)
        • Studies are complicated to conduct on EMI/RFI effects; but there is a growing body of evidence (anecdotal and epidemiological) that these fields cause interruption and irritation of the body’s electrochemical  processes.
        • See Dr. Samuel Milham’s site or Dr. Magda Havas has some indicative case studies in this report
Meter Model EMR/Microwave /RF EMI/RFI – Electric Fields from Interference Magnetic Field from electricity connection panel
FOCUS RXR-SD YES YES YES
FOCUS AXR NO YES YES
Analog NO NO YES
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Deflating the Propaganda Argument on How Smart Meter Opt-Outs Shift Extra Costs to Ratepayers

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

In order to penalize consumers who do not wish to take on the additional safety and security risks associated with smart meters, utilities typically charge those customers punitive fees.  They justify or rationalize these fees by proclaiming that other customers should not subsidize the few consumers refusing smart meters.

In actuality, those customers refusing smart meter risks are simply requesting a “same level of service” with a traditional analog meter.  Logically, in those circumstances, why should there be any change in how the customer is billed for electric service?

Additionally, however, even while a customer is paying a punitive fee for a smart meter refusal, they nearly always are also paying for the infrastructure costs associated with having a smart meter, even though they don’t have a smart meter.  Does that seem “fair”, i.e., being charged twice?  This issue was discussed at the March 14, 2017, Michigan House Energy Policy meeting chaired by Representative Gary Glenn.  Highlights from that meeting are provided below.

Read the rest of the article at  smartgridawareness.org

 

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Secure Your Family from Cyber Threats with an Analog Meter, Says Michigan State Senator

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions secure-your-family-and-home-with-analog-meter

The Michigan House Energy Policy Committee has been conducting hearings on legislation that would restore consumer protections regarding the type of meters that are installed upon their personal property by utility companies.  I provided coverage of these hearings in two previous articles. [1] [2]

In this article I would like to focus on the March 7, 2017, testimony of state Senator Patrick Colbeck, who says:

“One of the ways our citizens can secure their own family from [the] threats to our power grid is to opt out of so-called smart meters and retain analog meters, which have served us well for decades.  Cybersecurity threats today are very real.” [3]

“Against this increased risk, there is little to no consumer benefit to the adoption of smart meters.” [3]

State Senator Colbeck referenced previous testimony where nationally recognized cybersecurity expert Cynthia Ayers stated that smart meters increase our security risk because, as integral components in a digital network, hackers can use smart meters to remotely shut down power to one or more consumers. [2] [3]

Senator Colbeck says HB 4220 must be passed in order to give consumers true choice with our monopolistic utilities and to sever any notions that people must choose between new technology they don’t want and being able to keep the power on for their own property. [3]

For the rest of the  article go to smartgridawareness.org

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Expert Testimony on Smart Meters/Grid: “Retain analog systems to the extent possible.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Cynthia Ayers is a national security threat analyst, currently working as an independent consultant within the Mission Control and Cyber Division of the Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College.  She is also serving as Deputy to the Executive Director of the Congressionally sponsored Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

On March 7, 2017, Ayers presented testimony before the Michigan House Committee on Energy Policy.  Her testimony included an analysis of how smart meters introduce safety and security threats to the electric grid and to civilization itself.  Excerpts from the written testimony [1] include the following:

“My testimony will concentrate on the possibility of a catastrophic cyber attack to the systems we depend on for the delivery of electricity – the lifeblood of our modern civilization. …

As our electric grid becomes ‘smarter’ and more networked, it also becomes more vulnerable, making it a very inviting – perhaps the most inviting – target for adversaries.  Threats specific to smart grid technology range from the tactical (e.g., house-to-house, building to building) to the national strategic level.  As with cyber activities world-wide, operational attacks against small, inconspicuous elements (smart meters, for example) could ultimately have a much larger, truly catastrophic impact to the grid and to the society it sustains.

Although security can always be improved, all networks, all systems – virtually anything computerized – can be hacked.  As systems become more highly networked, it becomes easier for attackers to locate ‘backdoors’.  Multiple ‘smart’ appliances and other home or business devices are being developed and sold on the market, with the assumption that IoT (Internet of Things) networking and metering will soon be (if not already) commonly available.

Demand for full optimization of smart meters will ultimately rule out limited, billing-only usage (e.g., Meter to Cash or M2C).  The number of gaps in security will multiply per person, per household; and a successful ingress of any ‘backdoor’ could have detrimental effects on neighbors, communities, regions, states, the nation and beyond (e.g. Canada and Mexico).  Passive cyber defenses will be of prime importance, yet ubiquitous usage of components will only serve to increase gaps in security, regardless of the options given to consumers.

Smart meters can provide digital backdoors to facilities (e.g. the home, office, building, etc.) via the items within (e.g. televisions, refrigerators, thermostats, etc.).  They can also allow access to multiple components of external electric infrastructure.  Therefore, the use of smart meters must be carefully evaluated in the context of threats to personal safety as well as the safety of the grid. …

Read the rest of the article at smartgridawareness.org

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Smart Meter Update Winter 2017

opt-outSUMA-NW advocates and others were unable to halt the Seattle City Light (SCL) “smart” meter deployment in 2016. In 2017 we must focus on getting as many customers to opt-out as possible.

Opt-Out: Submit your opt-out application prior to the start of the meter exchange period, which is currently scheduled by SCL to begin July, 2017, to avoid paying the meter exchange fee. You still have to pay the one-time administrative fee.

Opt-Out application is currently available here, but SUMA-NW finds the Opt-Out Policy completely inadequate:

  • No analog meter option, even though Larry Weis, CEO of SCL, stated to SUMA-NW that analogs would be kept available. Smart meters, including non-communicating digital meters, increased fire hazards and harmful transients.
  • $124.43 upfront administrative fee, $49.77 for people who have qualified for Utility Discount Program (UPD). You will also have to pay for the service you now get for free at $15.87 per billing cycle ($6.35 per billing cycle for UPD) to have your meter read.
  • It is clearly stated in the Opt-Out Policy that the meter base is the responsibility of the property owner. Installations of meters without inspecting and repairing the meter base prior to installation  (the utility may not offer that service) could be dangerous for everyone. We believe that SCL should guarantee in writing that the base is safe and that an inspection has occurred by qualified staff. The reported fires throughout the US are due to increased arcing by digital meters. See Brian Thiesen’s excellent YouTube about fires involving AMI “smart” meters, AMR meters, and digital meters (non- communicating digital meters are safer if installed properly).
  • Renters must have the property owner’s permission in writing.
  • Property owners of multiple-unit buildings cannot opt-out individual units or common area metering.
  • Customers with solar panels who participate in net metering are not eligible to opt-out.

The installations are expected to begin in mid-year 2017. Contact Seattle City Light  (or call Advanced Metering desk at 206-727-8777) to find out when you are scheduled for installation.

Multiple-unit buildings such as condominiums and apartments must get their collectives to agree to opt-out for their entire building. SUMA-NW will be available, as our schedule permits, to come to any gatherings or meetings to explain the “smart” meter issues.

SCL claims that opting out will exclude you from alleged “smart” meter benefits. In reality there are no benefits with this current technology and it has failed to do anything except benefit the wireless industry, power utilities, and third-party marketers. It provides no environmental benefits or energy savings.

The opt-out form will ask you why you are opting out. You do not have to say why if you wish to keep those reasons private. You can simply say for personal reasons. Be aware that SCL now refers to “smart” meters as “standard” meters. This may be SCL’s attempt to normalize a flawed technology policy and hamper people’s own research into the negative aspects of “smart” meters.

We have voiced our concerns about smart meters since early 2014. The Seattle City Council (SCC) believed the greenwashing of this failed technology policy. The council never bothered to comment on the opt-out policy, and never acknowledged that it was not a solution to the serious concerns that are becoming apparent worldwide with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (“smart” meters). They were told by SCL that not many people sign up to opt-out. If over 50% of people don’t qualify, it is obvious why that is the case.

We still need people to voice their outrage at wasting millions of dollars on “smart” meters (standard meters) with all their inherent risks and no benefits.  If nothing else, we can be the highest opt-out utility territory in the US.

Write Letters: We encourage people to write letters to SCL, CEO of SCL: Larry Weis, and the SCC Energy and Environment Committee*  to voice your concerns and complaints.

Some suggestions for what to include in your letter:

  • Demand for proof of meter base inspection (see #3 of strategies below)
  • Opt-Out policy complaints
  • Other points from previous letter campaigns

SCL_Advanced_Metering@seattle.gov                                         Larry.Weis@seattle.gov                                                                                        Kshama Sawant*: 206-684-8016, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov               Lorena Gonzalez*: 206-684-8802, Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov                Debora Juarez *: 206-684-8807, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

SUMA-NW is investigating other strategies including:

  1. Conditional Acceptance has been discussed, but the reality of this option is that it is unenforceable and often dismissed as baseless by utilities. SUMA-NW currently cannot recommend this option until we have completed our research; it does not stop the installation. In theory, Conditional Acceptance uses contract law to demand that the utility guarantee/insure your safety and constitutional rights. Our understanding is that the Utility’s refusal to sign a Conditional Acceptance agreement would allow you to take further legal actions if any of the concerns raised are realized after installation. Jerry Day is the promoter of this strategy; for more information go to his website freedomtaker.com, (scroll toward bottom of page to Downloadable Documents). We also recommend that people sign up for newsletters from TakeBackYourPower.net .
  2. Notice of Liability – is another type of contract strategy with stronger language and intentions that has been initiated by numerous groups around the US and Canada. To learn more about this method, please visit the Take Back Your Power website, specifically here.
  3. Demand Proof of Pre-installation Inspection Affidavit – Demand that Seattle City Light provides a signed document that the meter base has been inspected by a qualified technician prior to installation of the new digital meters, whether it is a wireless meter or an opt-out meter, and the technician has determined that the meter base is safe for installation of the meter. Read more about the hot-socket issues, which can dangerously increase the risk of fire.
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New Critical Problem with ‘Smart’ Meters: The Switching-Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

It’s now becoming more widely known that microwave radiation is not the only type of radiation from smart meters that is causing illness.  Not by a long shot.

An important article by James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan
see source article: http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=2180

New Critical Problem with ‘Smart’ Meters: The Switching-Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

switching mode power supply - smart metersJust When You Thought It Was Safe to Opt-Out

Ironically, now that PG&E is offering to disable the wireless RF function (for a hefty price) in their smart meters, we find that there’s an another extremely critical problem with the meters.

Just when you thought you had mastered all the esoteric acronyms, and all the problems with ‘smart’ meters, here’s one more: Switching-Mode Power Supply or SMPS. This new element in the ‘smart’ meter controversy deserves immediate full official and public attention.

In our on-going investigation into why so-called ‘smart’ meters being installed by PG&E against rising public opposition are causing so many people to be sick, and so many problems with other electric and electronic equipment, we have been fortunate to obtain the advice of electrical engineers.

On examination of typical meters, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, they report that, in addition to its RF transmitter, each wireless digital meter also has a component called the ‘switching-mode power supply’ (SMPS) – switching power supply for short. Its function is to ‘step down’ the 240v alternating current (AC) coming in from the utility pole power lines to the 2 to 10 volts of direct current (DC) required to run the meter’s digital electronics which record the electricity usage data.

The SMPS function emits sharp spikes of millisecond bursts constantly, 24/7. The SMPS on the OWS 514 NIC model, for instance, which is the smart meter model widely installed by PG&E throughout its territory, has been measured to emit spikes of up to 50,000 hz and higher. This constant pulsing of high frequencies, in addition to the RF function, is causing not only interference with other electric and electronic equipment in many homes with smart meters installed, but also is causing havoc with biological systems in its field of exposure. (see wikipedia and Prevention Magazine articles below)

Dirty Electricity

When current flows through the wiring of a building it generates a surrounding electro-magnetic field that radiates outward all around the wires at right angles to the direction of the current’s flow and reaches out into the room.

It is well known that switching power supplies can generate spikes of so-called electromagnetic interference (EMI), or high frequency transients, which then travel along the wiring in the walls, radiating outward in the wiring’s electromagnetic field.

Such spikes are known as ‘dirty electricity’ and can be conducted to a human body that is within the range of the radiating field. This function is on all smart meters used by all utilities and is on constantly, 24/7.
[For more on dirty electricity check out Dr. Sam Milham’s website and his new book, DIRTY ELECTRICITY: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization and watch this blog for our in depth interview with Dr. Milham – coming soon. ]

One of the engineers explains it this way:
“Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency anywhere from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.”

Wikipedia agrees that SMPSs have this drawback:
“Disadvantages include greater complexity, the generation of high-amplitude, high-frequency energy that the low-pass filter must block to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI), and a ripple voltage at the switching frequency and the harmonic frequencies thereof.
Very low cost SMPSs may couple electrical switching noise back onto the mains power line, causing interference with A/V equipment connected to the same phase. Non-power-factor-corrected SMPSs also cause harmonic distortion.’ ”

Another Fatal Flaw in ‘Smart’ Meters

Our consultants believe that it is this ‘dirty electricity’ generated by the e-meters’ switching power supplies that is a major contributor to the symptoms being reported by growing numbers of people in association with the e-meters thus far installed.

The ‘opt-out-for-a-price’ arrangement put forward by PG&E, in which the wireless meters would, at the ratepayer’s expense, have its RF transmitting function turned off, would still not eliminate the ‘dirty electricity’ flowing into the buildings wiring, and so would not prevent negative health effects in the buildings’s occupants.

This is further reason for the CPUC to declare a moratorium on e-meter deployment, and schedule a fully transparent public hearing on all aspects of the meters’ operation.

____________________________________________________________________________
From Alexander Binik
Director, DE-Toxics Institute, Fairfax, CA

What follows are a few quotes on this subject from a pair of 2009 Prevention Magazine articles. (I however highly recommend your reading the entire articles, as they are extremely informative.) (You may need to paste these links into your browsers URL field.) http://www.prevention.com/health/health/healthy-lifestyle/electromagnetic-fields-and-your-health/article/9e60d47569225210VgnVCM10000030281eac

… a particular kind of EMF, a relatively new suspected carcinogen known as high-frequency voltage transients, or “dirty electricity.” Transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances–from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and dimmer switches–which tamp down the electricity they use. This manipulation of current creates a wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that not only radiates into the immediate environment but also can back up along home or office wiring all the way to the utility, infecting every energy customer in between…

… “Opposite charges attract, and like charges repel. When a transient is going positive, the negatively charged electrons in your body move toward that positive charge. When the transient flips to negative, the body’s electrons are pushed back. Remember, these positive-negative shifts are occurring many thousands of times per second, so the electrons in your body are oscillating to that tune. Your body becomes charged up
because you’re basically coupled to the transient’s electric field.”…

And, from the second article, at http://www.prevention.com/electroshocker/index.shtml:
“A report that cited more than 2,000 studies found that chronic exposure to even low-level radiation (like that from cell phones) can cause a variety of cancers, impair immunity, and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and many other ailments.

One likely way: EMFs open the blood-brain barrier, causing blood vessels to leak fluid into the brain and damage neurons. ??What’s more, a less–well known kind of EMF, known as “dirty” or transient electricity, may play an even more damaging role. Transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances—from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and dimmer switches—which tamp down the electricity they use.

This manipulation of current creates a wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that essentially charges up the electrons in every cell of your body. Some research suggests that by overlapping the body’s signaling mechanisms, transients may interfere with the secretion of insulin, drown out the call and response of the immune system, and cause other physical havoc.”

_____________________________________

Here is a letter recently sent to the CPUC by engineer Rob States:
[ To view a video of a recent presentation by Rob, click here.]

Two engineers have been diligently working on Smart Meter dirty power and RF issues – the combined team possess two MS degrees from MIT, a California P.E. license (Professional Engineer’s License), and a PhD from Stanford in Electrical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude. They have been working on this nearly continuously for the last four months.

The scientific data tells us that 5% of the population will get sick immediately from RF disease, and another 10% will develop the disease over time. This means about 4.5 million people in California are potential victims.

Since individuals with no history of RF disease are experiencing symptoms the first day the meter is installed, we can assume the meter’s RF emissions are not the only problem. The RF network is activated months after initial meter installation.

Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency any ware from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.

Since 85% of the population is not immediately effected by this phenomena, the knowledge about what is causing symptoms in PG&E’s customers will be slow to evolve. We expect word of mouth to be the primary information source since the media is so disconnected from this phenomena.

The scientific literature has studied microwave illness since the 1930?s when radar operators became ill. Radar equipment emits radiation that is intermittent, and recent scientific papers have increasingly reported that pulsed radiation is significantly worse than continuous radiation. Humans have been exposed to continuous microwave transmissions from radio for decades. Exposure that Smart Meters present to California citizens is new and unlike previous electromagnetic emissions.

PG&E has published none of the functional specifications of the meters now being installed, including their BLOCK DIAGRAMS, SCHEMATICS, or BILL OF MATERIALS. The scientific community has been prevented from identifying any of the design problems prior to their installations.

The decisions by PG&E and the CPUC to conduct NO SAFETY STUDIES has forced them to discover the current problem after the meters have been installed and after significant capital has been invested in this project. Even a rudimentary safety test with 100 randomly selected people would have probably uncovered this problem long before its appearance in PG&E’s customer base.

The fix for preventing dirty power disease in PG&E customers is expensive. Because the dirty power must be stopped in the customer’s LOW IMPEDANCE house wiring, all of the filter components must handle high power, and therefore are expensive. Current estimates put the end customer cost at $500, and that does not include fixing dirty power interactions that Smart Meter causes with devices already in the customer’s home, such as computers, FAX machines, copiers, plasma TV’s, and the like. Merely treating 15% of the California households puts the total liability for after market problems at $2B, approximately equal to the entire cost of the existing program’s roll out.

Though 15% of the population has early and obvious symptoms, a large number of microwave disease related health problems will not surface for some time. As science advances, the links between microwave disease and its sources will only improve, causing ever increasing liability for societal institutions that are responsible for the offending emissions. Though the cell phone industry has purchased immunity from liability through their extensive lobbying efforts, the experience of the tobacco and chemical industries has shown that this immunity can fade as priorities of the general population affects the political process.

Though microwave disease is not directly observed in 85% of the population, the asymptomatic effects (meaning effects that have no apparent symptoms) are well published in the scientific literature, and span a wide variety of lethal and debilitating diseases, including cancers, auto immune diseases, suicide risk, depression, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a host of others. Steve Job’s pancreas and liver problems are particularly conspicuous when manifested in a life long vegetarian who was chronically exposed to pulsed microwave emissions from wifi, computer power supplies, and the like. Liability for microwave diseases could explode in the future, as data in the cell phone industry already suggests.

Among the population of affected individuals, there are sure to be attorneys who are experienced in class actions suits, and who clearly recognize a $2B avoidable cost has been imposed on an unwilling public. This type of law suit has been responsible for some of the largest corporate liabilities in our civilization’s history, and has already affected PG&E and the CPUC in the past (i.e. hexavalent chromium in Hinkley CA).

Once the California real estate community becomes aware that 15% of the general population will no longer be able to live, work, or shop in their properties, the potential liability will be in the trillions of dollars, and will effect a population of wealthy individuals who have significant political influence in Sacramento. These entrepreneurs have been particularly skilled at legally punishing institutions that are responsible for declines in their asset values. In fact, the asset base of the retirement trust of California’s state employees is significantly exposed to California’s real estate market.

A reasonable person could conclude that the potential liability PG&E currently faces, both immediately and in the evolving future, could be significantly larger than their asset base. Their long term survival as a corporation could be at risk, and a potential outcome could include the wholesale transfer of their asset base into receivership pending settlement of outstanding liabilities.

Legal liability could force PG&E to approach the CPUC for a doubling of the existing utility rate. This would be a politically untenable request, and could result in the dissolution of the CPUC’s existing regulator authority.

The future for both the CPUC and PG&E is uncertain, and potentially disastrous. A prudent course would be to treat the entire Smart Grid project in California as a major risk, and to aggressively engage in damage control. Since the technology that is actively being dismantled by the CPUC and PG&E has previously demonstrated none of the current risks, an aggressive plan to offer an analog meter opt out is a prudent option. Since so much damage has already been done, there are no guarantees that even this measure will prevail.

PG&E’s current course of relying on PR spin has little chance of stemming the trends that have already been set in motion.

Rob States, M.S., P.E.
Chief Engineer, Wave Dry, LLC.
415-927-2739 Office
415-596-2718 Cell
============

 

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Links to Fire Evidence

Smart FireWhile smart meter fire risks are discounted by Seattle City Council, they are an important threat and liability, especially to the property owners. Here are references that show significant fire risk and why this happens:

The smart meter, as you know, provides two-way radio frequency communication. This design feature in and of itself could lead to fires. Utilities usually disclaim any responsibility in smart meter fires and have removed forensic evidence such as the burned out, charred smart meter before an insurance company was allowed to examine it. Please see the “Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe” below:

  1. Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe, NMPRC Case No. 15-00312-UT, dated June 6, 2016. Please read this testimony to further understand the scope of fire problems with smart meters. Mr. Lambe is a Senior Property Claims Examiner at Precision Risk Management, PO Box 628, Cypress, CA 90630. (testimony) . (You can contact Norman Lambe for further information at: Norman Lambe, 
Property Adjuster
 Precision Risk Management, Inc. 
nlambe@prmclaim.com, 
714-228-7900 ext. 1159).
  2. How the Smart Meter ‘Remote Disconnect’ Can Cause FiresAugust 25, 2016, by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions.

“I have previously stated that “the most dangerous ‘feature’ included in the majority of smart meters deployed today is the remote disconnect option.” [1] [2] At the time, I was primarily referencing the increased risk that the smart meter remote disconnect (RD) poses to the electric grid from a cyber threat perspective. In addition, however, the RD is one of the features of a smart meter (as compared to other types of electric usage meters) that increases the risk of catastrophic meter failures and resulting building fires.

To help illustrate how smart meter RDs can result in fires, this article will highlight the results of forensic investigations by EFI Global, Inc. (EFI) for a failed Sensus brand smart meter reported as involved in a fire in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2015 [3]. There were actually two separate evaluations of the failed smart meter, first a non-destructive review in July 2015 and a destructive inspection conducted in April 2016.

Here is an excerpt from the forensics report for the non-destructive review: “[It] should be noted that this meter is of the new ‘smart-meter’ variety, which differs from the original electro-mechanical meter that it replaced in at least three significant ways:”

3.a. “Keeping the Customer Safe“:

This report offers some statistics comparing meter fires prior to AMI (smart meter) deployment to what is currently happening after deployment. Tom Lawton from TESCO: “the number of reported fires in the United States has increased dramatically to the point where [Smart] Meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Issue

  • Hot Sockets are not a new phenomenon. Virtually every meter man has pulled a meter with a portion of the meter base around a blade melted and virtually every utility has been called to assist in the investigation of a fire at a meter box.
  • From 2007 to 2011 the four years before the start of the majority of AMI deployments there were 590 reported fires in the United States that originated in the meter or the meter box. An average of 125 per year and an incidence rate of less than one in a million meters each year.
  • Since that time the number has increased dramatically to the point where [smart] meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally at various times over the past three years. – Utilities going through a full AMI deployment are seeing incident rates one and two orders of magnitude greater than normal, leading to a media frenzy and a public focus on the safety of the meter on the side of their house. [Slide 2]

3b. “Hot Socket Issues Causes and Best Practices” (TESCO Research On Hot Sockets, 2014): Analog meters withstand “hot sockets” better than smart meters. “At the start of our laboratory investigation the oldest electro mechanical meters withstood hot sockets the best… The latest vintage solid state meters [smart meters] withstood hot sockets the least.” 

4. Recent news coverage of smart meter fires in Kansas City, MI:

KCMO smart meter fire sparks investigation,” August 29. 2016.  “. . . The company KCP&L uses has had past issues in other places. Despite few problems in the metro, hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the last several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois and across Canada.” . . . .

The smart meter in this video that caused fires were made by Landis & Gyr – smart meter vendor for Seattle. The video also includes interviews with insurance adjuster Norman Lambe, researcher Brian Thiesen, and professor Curtis Bennett in this 4-minute clip (see below):

–Reporter: “Hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the past several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out, including in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, and across Canada.”

–Curtis Bennett (electrician professor): “It really is a very dangerous issue, and it should be treated as a real, unprecedented emergency in your area.”

–Reporter: “California insurance adjuster Norman Lambe currently has seven open smart meter fire claims. Of the dozens of smart meter fires he’s investigated, he says overheating is the major issue.”

–Norman Lambe (insurance adjuster): “Sparking… they are manufacturing too much heat.”

–Brian Thiesen (researcher): “These fires are going to continue to happen because, again, the basic laws of electricity are being violated.”

5. “Smart Meter Fires: Burning Meters, Burning Questions, Shocking Answers Published on Mar 26, 2016. Researcher Brian Thiesen presents shocking and disturbing facts about smart meter fires. The video includes information on Landis & Gyr and coverup on meter fires. Seattle City Light continues to ignore fire hazards and plans to install “smart” meters in 2017 on all homes and businesses.

Seattle City Light claims the fire problem is solved due to a heat sensor (which would not be necessary if not for the flawed design of the smart meter in the first place). They further claim that the property owner, not the utility, is responsible for the meter’s connection to the building, and is therefore liable if there’s a smart meter fire. This is frequently done by other utilities. Please again refer to Norman Lambe’s Direct Testimony at the top of this email.

6. “Stockton Smart Meters Explode after Truck Causes Power Surge” Stockton, California, (March 30, 2015), several hundred meters exploded off the sides of houses simply because a truck hit a utility pole. Several thousand people were without power for over two days.

For More Information on Smart Meter Fire Fatalities & Liability:

 Smart Meter Fires & Explosions

Deaths from Smart Meter Fires

Cities that Have Replaced Thousands of Smart Meters

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